Alte Pinakothek

ALTE PINAKOTHEK: If you’re not a serious art fiend, I recommend giving this one a miss in favour of Munich’s two other big art galleries, the Neue Pinakothek and the Pinakothek der Moderne.

The paintings are a tad dull for those without an untrained eye and it’s simply not as accessible as the other collections.
If you do, however, prefer your Dürrers and van der Weydens to your Manets and van Goghs you’ll have a field day.

alte-pinakothek-munichSHADOWS OF THE PAST: A "Scars of Rememberance" World War Two memorial outside the Alte Pinakothek art gallery in Munich. It's an old bronze sculture with unrepaired bullet-holes from the war.

A king's heart for art

Hailed as one of the world’s greatest collections of European "Old Masters", the Alte Pinakothek’s collection spans the 14th to the 18th centuries.

Most were collected by the classics-loving King Ludwig I, who built the gallery from 1826 to 1836. The building was pretty much bombed to smithereens in World War Two and there’s an interesting photo-essay near the lobby showing the damage and subsequent rebuild.

munich-art-galleryVISUAL JOURNEY: Visitors at Munich's Alte Pinakothek.
Pic: © Nagy / Presseamt München 

Highlights of the collection

battle-of-alexander-at-issusMONUMENTAL: Albrecht Altdorfer's
Alexanderschlacht is one
of the gallery's highlights.
It's upstairs in Saal 2.

▪Alexanderschlacht (The Battle of Alexander at Issus), 1529, Albrecht Altdorfer.
German Altdorfer’s signature work is a turbulent battle/landscape showing Alexander the Great’s 333BC victory over Darius III of Persia.
It’s thought to reflect the age-old conflict of east versus west, which at the time meant European struggles with the Ottoman Empire (modern Turkey).

▪Selbsbildnis (Self-Portrait), 1500, Albrecht Dürer
German Dürer’s direct, full-frontal self portrait stirred critics’ tempers with its likeness to a Christ-depiction.
An inscription over Dürer’s shoulder reads, in Latin, "I Albrecht Dürer of Nuremburg
portrayed myself in paint aged
28 years".

albrecht-durer-alte-pinakothekCHRIST-LIKE: Albrecht Dürer's
controversial self-portrait.
It's in Saal 2 too.

▪Die Vier Apostel (The Four Apostles), 1526, Albrecht Dürer.
Dürer’s last master work depicts apostles John, St Peter, St Mark and St Paul on a larger-than-life scale.

▪Madonna mit Kind (Madonna with Child), 1614, Hendrick Goltzius
An example of this Dutch painter’s "exuberant", Michelangelo-inspired religious works.

Works are grouped into national schools:

German painting: The biggest section, works here are either late Gothic, Renaissance or Mannerist. Artists represented include Albrecht Dürer, Albrecht Altdorfer, Matthias Grünwald and Adam Elsheimer.

Netherlandish Painting: The highlight here is Rogier van der Weyden’s Adoration of the Magi from 1455. Other artists include Hieronymus Bosch and Jan Grossaert.

Dutch Painting: Paintings from the golden age of Dutch art in the 17th century include Rembrandt’s "Passion" scenes and a self-portrait of artist Carel Fibritius.

alte-pinakothek-venus-and-andonisGODLY COUPLE: Hendrick Goltzius' Venus und Adonis from 1614.
It's upstairs in Saal 9 at the Alte Pinakothek.

Flemish Painting: Baroque works of artists like Peter Paul Rubens and Isabella Brandt take centre stage here.

Italian Painting: Giotto’s Last Supper, Leonardo da Vinci’s Madonna with Child and Raphael’s Madonna dei Tempi are among the standouts in the collection of Italian works.

French Painting
: Claude Lorrain’s Banishment of Hagar and Jean-Baptiste Greuze’s Grievance of Time are among the gallery’s small collection of French artworks.

Spanish Painting: A relatively minor part of the collection, El Greco’s Disrobing of Christ heads up this section.

The details

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Location: The Alte Pinakothek is at Barer Strasse 27 in Munich’s Art District (Kunstareal).
Phone:089 23 80 52 16
Cost €7, concession €5, price includes an audio guide, all tickets are €1 on Sunday but an audio guide is €6 extra.
Tuesday 10am to 8pm, Wednesday to Sunday 10am to 6pm, closed Monday.
Directions: Take U-Bahn No. 2 to Theresienstrasse and walk west two blocks. By tram take No. 27 from Karlsplatz-Stachus to the stop Pinakothek. Or you can take the "Museum Bus" line No. 100 from the Hauptbahnhof (Main Train Station).

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The Alte Pinakothek is an attraction in The Art District. Nearby attractions include...

• The Neue Pinakothek - the second of Munich's grand art galleries
• The Pinakothek der Moderne - and the third of Munich's pinakotheks.

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